The recent spate of long delays at airports for Finnish holidaymakers continued over the Christmas and New Year period, with the most prominent case being a delay of 15 hours for a Finnmatkat flight to Phuket in Thailand on Sunday.
The TUIFly Nordic flight was due to leave Helsinki in the early hours of Sunday morning, but took off only at 18:30 on Sunday evening. The delay was caused by a technical fault in the Boeing 747 aircraft’s wing.
In Phuket, passengers expecting to return to Finland on this plane were also kept waiting for 13-14 hours. They finally got back home late on Monday evening.
The stranded passengers in Thailand were in many cases the same people who were held up by nearly 20 hours waiting to get off the ground in Helsinki two weeks ago (see article).
A total of around 600 people were affected at both ends.
Those waiting in Helsinki either went home - if they lived locally - or were put up in airport hotels.
The passengers returning home from Thailand complained of failures by the travel operator to provide suitable accommodation for them after they had checked out of their holiday hotels.
Many had little money left after their vacation, and many were travelling with small children.
There were further grumbles on Tuesday evening, as Finnair had to cancel a direct leisure flight from Oulu to Teneriffe after technical problems with the plane.
The flight was scheduled to leave Oulu for the Canary Islands at 16:25 on New Year’s Day, but the 227 holidaymakers were instead flown south to Helsinki.
The passengers finally got started on their vacation trip just before midnight, leaving from Helsinki-Vantaa International.